Maple Leaf loss widens on lower meat sales

Toronto agrifood giant Maple Leaf Foods reported a bigger quarterly loss Thursday, hurt in part by lower meat sales.

The company is carrying out a multi-year program of closing older processing plants and modernizing others, as it seeks to boost profit and better compete with U.S. rivals.

Sales for the company’s protein group, which includes the meat products and agribusiness groups, fell about six per cent to $744.4 million in the first quarter.

Maple Leaf’s total sales decreased four per cent to $1.11 billion.

The company’s net loss widened to $14.7 million, or 11 cents per share, in the first quarter from $5.8 million, or four cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company reported a loss of six cents per share, compared with adjusted earnings of six cents per share a year earlier.

Maple Leaf shares closed at $13.35 on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. — Reuters

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